While many of us spend the last few days before Christmas buying last-minute gifts, the staff and volunteers at the St. Matthew's shelter in Naples are preparing to feed Christmas dinner to hundreds on Sunday. Chef Kristofer Jubinville said they're committed to making it special.
"We want to make them feel as comfortable, as at-home as possible this Christmas season," Jubinville said. "We've got nice people from all over Collier County donating a whole bunch of homemade baked goods, which is just awesome. We have a lady that comes in and sings Christmas carols."
He said residents of St. Matthew's House and other area homeless will enjoy filet mignon and Gulf shrimp, as well as roasted veggies, potatoes and salad.
St. Matthew's House program director Ray Steadman said that the food and friendly atmosphere are important to people going through everything from substance abuse treatment, to escaping an abusive spouse.
"Not everyone that's here has had great experiences at this time of year," Steadman said. "So we try to make it comforting for them, in a caring and loving environment."
"It's just awesome to see other families that maybe don't have family or don't have their kids, and it's a sad time of year for them," said Ashley, who is going through a substance abuse program and helping with the food prep in the St. Matthew's House kitchen. "This would give them some hope and some joy throughout the season."
The Christmas Day meal at St. Matthew's House is from noon to 4 p.m. at the shelter at 2001 Airport-Pulling Road South.